THEY say money talks when it comes to securing good people for the job but the current deficit of candidates for the many open roles across the business of agriculture indicates there is far more to the story.
In the United States, ramping up meatworkers wages by as much as 40 per cent has not put the slightest dent in the labour shortage.
At the same time, bosses in every sector are finding that lifting salaries for one role to secure applicants can cost valuable workers already on the job if their wages don't move in sync.
So the forward-thinking minds in Australia's beef industry are talking far more than money and looking in every nook and cranny for answers.
For a start, we need to stop calling it a labour shortage - it's a people shortage we are experiencing, says Queensland abattoir boss Terry Nolan who heads up the national processing council at the Australian Meat Industry Council.
"While ever we talk about a labour shortage we are dehumanising the work," he said.
The people shortage in meatworks was a hot topic at Beefex22 in Brisbane this month, the annual conference of the Australian Lot Feeders' Association.
Mr Nolan said the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme had been a great step, with 6000 extra people now in meatworks across the country, but it was not enough - there would never be one single solution to the challenge.
Individual enterprises had to make moves to find solutions, he argued.
"For some unknown reason, we've dropped manual arts subjects at school. We think there is a group of students emerging from Australia's highschool system taught to work smarter not harder and as a result people don't want physical work," Mr Nolan said.
"Learning to work hard is a skill."
At Nolan's Meats in Gympie, a partnership with local highschools is paying dividends.
It started with just five students doing four hours a day twice a week after school and now has more than 60 students on the books.
"A lot of those young people have been given a taste for the trade and all of a sudden meatworks jobs have become quite cool," Mr Nolan said.
"It's more technical than they thought and a fair percentage will stay with us - some will just do a gap year with us to get some money in their pockets but others will stay on longer.
"That's just one solution but it's one that is working well."
Chief executive officer of international ag market intelligence company Global AgriTrends, Brett Stuart, said it was a far different equation that school leavers were weighing up today than in the past.
"It used to be college was the preferred route but if you look at wages being paid today for those graduating, going in to become electricians or plumbers means coming out without a big student loan debt but still having the ability to make a lot of money," he said.
"Markets are good at allocating scarce resources and we've definitely seen a big increase in wages being paid across the ag sector, particularly in cattle feeding."
By and large, however, the feeling now is that money is not doing the job of filling the job and that farming businesses have to be thinking outside the square.
Queensland lot feeder Bryce Camm made the point agriculture often promoted young people rapidly to high levels in businesses.
"There are 30 years old out there in our industry running businesses that turn over $100m," he said.
"I don't think we talk about things like that enough.
"Ag has always undersold itself but it's super competitive now and we need to be out there selling these sort of things much more than we ever have before."
United States-based Mr Stuart said COVID stimulus payments, which thus far worldwide was sitting at more than $18 trillion dollars, had created an overcharged demand for everything.
And it happened so quickly that businesses, particularly those in ag, have not been able to keep up with supply.
"What is unique for us is that for a hundred-plus years, low labour costs has made America competitive in manufacturing but we've lost that now," he said.
"We have a massive pool of workers outside our borders but we are in a spot right now where neither political party is willing to truly embrace this issue. There is a resistance to allow immigrants in.
"If we look to countries in the south, there are thousands, if not millions, of workers who would love to come into the US and work in a meat plant for US$25 an hour but politically we've not been able to cross the bridge."
What the worker shortage was doing in meat processing was spurring massive innovation in technology, Mr Stuart reported.
"Companies are trying to do everything they can do to move away from human labour," he said.
"These innovations are not being driven by efficiency gains - in fact thus far it is raising the costs. It's being driven by the lack of labour."